France maintains one of the proudest, and most impressive, cultural traditions in the world. The entire country, from the government, right down to businesses and individual citizens, remain proud and strongly committed to preserving the French cultural tradition. Visitors to France from the UK will be amazed at both the similarities between the two countries, and the different values that are placed on cultural elements in France.
France’s cultural history, or la patrimoine, goes back to prehistoric times and a visit to the prehistoric cave paintings in the Dordogne will be well worth a visit. However, if you have come to see more refined elements of French culture, then you will have Roman monuments, Gothic cathedrals, grand architecture to choose from. This does not even begin to mention to haute couture that is prized throughout the country, and particularly in Paris, properly regarded as the culture capital of the world.
French companies operating in the fashion, perfume, jewellery, pottery, artistic, design and food industries are renowned for their commitment to France’s cultural heritage and for the fact that, more than in any other country in the world, these industries take pride not only in turning over a profit for their shareholders, but also for being at the cutting edge of some of the most prized and sought after products in the world.
As well as this, the French government heavily subsidises French cinema, with a wealth of films being made each year. While everyone has heard of the Canne film festival, you would also do well to consider your survey of French culture incomplete without at least having seen one French film in a French cinema.
If it is fine art you are after, then the museums and galleries of France will delight your senses, no matter where you are. However, it naturally goes without saying that Paris, the world capital for art, will be the place to begin your survey. Over the last 150 years, any artist of note has at least had some period of note in Paris, and some opinion of the city. Be that as it may, from the French impressionists such as Monet and Matisse, to others, such as Picasso and Van Gogh, Paris will show you what you want to see. Don’t forget to check out France’s rich collection of Renaissance works with the most famous being the Mona Lisa by Leonardo De Vinci.
Whatever you are looking for in the realm of culture, you will find that the cliché that the French are stylish, romantic and passionate is definitely true when it comes to art and culture.